We think of our lives like a timeline but, really, they are poems just waiting to be experienced.
Poetry has always fascinated me. Like moonshine spirits, poetry holds an essence that is both distilled and incandescently free. It belongs to no one but itself, and it captivates you totally.
In poetry the true magic happens in the unseen.
There is a Zen saying that I stumbled upon once that has always stuck with me. A good poem is like a fishing net. It is not the well-twined rope that makes a net so effective, but the emptiness that exists inbetween. Unlike a longer fiction, each word of a poem is thoughtfully placed to reference an even greater meaning. A good poem offers us a single lotus flower, floating in an empty pond, so that we are invited to dive into an understanding of the unspeakable gorgeousness that lies just beyond.
True magic happens when we begin to view the events of our own days as droplets of meaning in a much wider lake. When we can sit in wonder of the day-to-day. When we can experience our lives as poetry, an opus that is ultimately pointing towards something inexpressibly grand. Just like when we are given a book of poems, and asked to find the meaning, sometimes it can seem as though the days we’ve been handed are just a collection of disconnected memories. But open to your life with a poetic mind, eyes trained on the unseen, and you will find a stirring gateway of meaning.
Live in the midst of poetry.
The first poppy blooming in your garden. The way warm honey dissolves in your tea. A chipped dish, the flecks of mica in concrete. Every gesture, every small movement in our life has the ability to point our gaze towards the ineffable, the magnificent, the intangibly radiant.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, postulated that the ultimate driving force behind humanity wasn’t the search for security, affirmation or luxury… but the ache for meaning. And that the need for meaning doesn’t just belong to the poets and professors of the world— it is part of the longing of every human being.
When we can connect to the experience of our lives as a poem, we naturally sink into meaning. All we have to do is leave some space in-between. Whenever you can, however you can. Summer, with all its bustle and fullness, is a clarion call to simplify one’s life. To let go of all the million details of plant, harvest and seed and take long moments to just enjoy. Read a book for an hour at sunset. Go swimming on a Tuesday. Spend a whole weekend trying out new popsicle recipes or create a fairy altar with your kids. There is a reason why summer is the season of vacation. It’s meant to be a time of ease.
As John Keats so beautifully described, “A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore, but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is an experience beyond thought.”
Your life is a poem, allow yourself to experience its beauty.